Jordan Peele has another film coming out. Woo-hoo? I have never been particularly enamored with him. Was not a fan of the series Keye & Peele and his films Get Out and Us, while serviceable, were not great and lacked even the pretense of originality.
Us was a rip-off of a few direct to video releases from the 80s coupled with a weird complaint against Hands Across America. There are visual references to the event throughout. I thought the event was a load of pretentious crap myself at the time but nothing worth pissing over in a movie years down the road. It has been over 30 years. To quote Frozen: Let it go! The goal was to do something good.
Get Out was a complete rip-off of a 1988 film called Blood Relations. In both there is body swapping, a rich family, a significant other with ulterior motives, and the effort to extend life. And let’s not forget the mansion in an isolated area. It looks like he took the story and with minimal effort changed it.
I have heard that Get Out rips off The Skeleton Key as well as The Stepford Wives (original) though I must admit that when I saw the former that I was under the weather and loopy on meds and it has been ages since I watched the latter. Neither popped up in my thinking but giving Peele’s propensity for ‘borrowing’ I could see it happening.
Peele in his work largely goes through the motions. The problem isn’t that he rips off other movies. Plenty of films do that. The problem is he puts the barest of efforts into the project as a whole. Characterization is minimal. Directing is nothing special. The only thing special might be visual effects and the set decoration. He makes no effort to present his borrowed ideas in a fresh way. I know directors take and repurpose stuff from other works all the time and that is okay when they try to at least put effort into dressing it up.
My question is what movies will Nope rip-off? Peele is not a creative genius but rather he is good at spotting material to repackage. So far Nope looks mediocre at best. Cool visuals but not much else.
Some have called Star Wars: A New Hope a repackaged The Hidden Fortress but in space. And The Mandalorian has been admitted as a mix of Lone Wolf & Cub and The Dollars Trilogy. The difference is that The Mandolorian and A New Hope are just more entertaining. They try to be entertaining and at least try to make everything feel original even if it might not necessarily be. The important ingredient in both is effort.
There’s nothing special about Jordan Peele. No effort to make the material fresh. There is a “twist” but that twist is a lazy repackaging of the twist from the material he is reusing. His success is due to great marketing on his part. He is a great salesman for himself.
Peele has a fantastic hype machine working for him apparently. It’s the same people that have team that have pushed Quentin Tarantino to the stratosphere despite him being a one trick pony with his work who also happens to have a weird obsession with feet. Kudos to him for turning his foot fetish and into success.
Peele, like Tarantino, is just okay at best. There is nothing that has he’s produced that is original or unique. He has done nothing that blows the socks off. It is all foam and no beer.
I expect Nope to be a passable one-off watch but little more. I want to be wrong but I have my doubts.